GCC Meeting Minutes – Dec 2023

2023 Elected GCC Members

The General Conference Committee (GCC) of US SHIP will serve in an advisory capacity to the US SHIP program administrators and represent the points of view of all types of swine producers, livestock marketing operations, and slaughter facilities.

US SHIP delegates elected six regional and three at-large representatives to their first terms on the US SHIP General Conference Committee (GCC).

Committee Members:

Region 1 – North Atlantic
States: CT, DE, KY, ME, MD, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VT, and WV

Don Davidson, DVM, MS
Don Davidson is Director of Veterinary Services for Cooper Farms. He oversees staff veterinarians and production teams, health, and biosecurity for all of the live animal division, turkey and hog grow out, and feed mills.
Cooper Farms is a diversified farm and food company based in Northwest and West Central Ohio which hatches over 15 million turkey poults, 200,000 turkey breeder hens, and starts 7 million tom turkeys a year.
Cooper Farms has 34,300 sows and markets over 900,000 pigs a year. And, Cooper Farms has 6.2 million laying hens which produce over 155 million dozen table eggs a year.
Prior to coming to Cooper Farms in 2014, Dr. Davidson was the Director of Production for PFFJ /Hormel Foods (Farmer John) in Snowflake, Arizona with 54,000 sows and 1.2 million wean and market pigs located in California, Arizona, Wyoming, and Colorado from 1992 to 2014.From 1986 to 1990 Dr. Davidson was in a mixed animal private practice in Bellefontaine, Ohio.
Dr. Davidson earned his BS degree in 1982 and DVM degree in 1986 from The Ohio State University. In 1992 he earned a MS degree from the University of Illinois in the IFAMS program (Integrated Food Animal Management Systems).
Dr. Davidson is active and serves on several professional and industry organizations and groups.
Dr. Davidson is originally from Sidney, Ohio and now resides in Celina, Ohio.

Region 2 – East Central
States: IL, IN, MO, and WI

Howard (AV) Roth
Howard “AV” Roth Jr. is a fifth-generation farmer who owns and operates Roth Feeder Pig, Inc. which includes 3000 sows in a farrow-to-wean enterprise marketing over 75,000 head annually. The business also includes 1200 acres of corn, oats, and alfalfa along with a black Angus herd.
AV is FFA and AGR Alumni. He has served on many local, state, and national committees, including Past President of the Wisconsin Pork Association and Past President of National Pork Producers Council. Roth attended the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
AV and his wife Christine have 7 children and reside on the family farm in Wauzeka, Wisconsin.

Region 3 – North Central
States: MN, ND, and SD

Michael Walker
Michael Walker earned a BS in Agriculture Studies at Iowa State University.
In his 23-year career he has primarily been at Christensen Farms focused on production for the first 16-years while the last 7 years has been focused on Business Development.

Currently Michael serves on the Minnesota Emergency Disease Management Committee by supporting the Depopulation & Disposal, Permitting, and Regionalization Sub-committees since 2019.

Michael has also had the opportunity to serve on multiple task forces with National Pork Board.

Michael and his wife, Cassie, are always on the move with their 4 daughters ranging from 2 to 15 who are involved in hockey, softball, volleyball, and gymnastics.

Michael and his family have lived in the small town of Belview, Minnesota for the last 7 years.

Region 4 – North Central
State: IA

Mike Paustian, PhD
Mike is a 6th generation farmer from Walcott, Iowa, who operates a 1200-sow farrow-to-finish operation with his family. The farm also grows corn and soybeans on 1400 acres.
Mike received a Ph.D. in microbiology and worked as a research scientist at the National Animal Disease Center before returning to the family farm.
He has served as a past president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association and on several national committees and working groups.
Mike and his wife Amy stay busy keeping track of 3 teenagers whom all know how to operate a power washer.

Region 5 – South Atlantic
State: AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, and VA

Mary Battrell, DVM, MS
Dr. Mary Battrell earned her DVM and MS degrees from Iowa State University.
She also holds a MS in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee and BS in Agriculture from The Ohio State University.
She is a staff veterinarian for Smithfield Foods Central Region which manages 250,000 sows farrow-to-finish in eastern North Carolina.
She has been with the company for more than 20 years and is actively involved in the development of the Smithfield Animal Care Program and their Contingency Plan for Foreign Animal Disease.

Dr. Battrell was the recipient of the 2018 Swine Veterinarian of the Year awarded by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and served as the associations President in 2021.

Region 6 – Western
States: AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, KS, MT, NE, NV, NM, OK, OR, TX, UT, WA, and WY

Christine Mainquist-Whigham, DVM, MS
Dr. Mainquist-Whigham is the Director of Health for Pillen Family Farms/DNA Genetics Nucleus. Her role includes overseeing the herd health and biosecurity of the two systems.
A native of Stanton, Iowa and raised on a family farm, she pursued science and agriculture, earning a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2012.
Christine graduated from Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2016 with her DVM and Master’s Degree in Veterinary Preventive Medicine.
In 2022 she completed the Executive Veterinary Program at the University of Illinois.
Christine resides in Columbus, NE with her husband Alex and son Callum.

At-Large: Non-Specified Member

Ryan Pudenz
Ryan is the general manager of Prestage Farms of Iowa. In that position, he oversees finisher production in Iowa of 1.5 million hogs annually.
In addition to being the District 6 Director on the IPPA Board, Ryan also serves as the Vice President of Operations. In that role, he is responsible for the minutes of IPPA’s delegate body, executive committee meetings, and the board of directors’ meetings. He also reviews IPPA’s communications and public policy programs.
Ryan has been active at the local, state, and national level in leadership roles.

At – Large: Packer / Slaughter Facility Member

Katherine M. Stack
Katherine is the Hog Procurement Manager and Wholestone Farms in Fremont, Nebraska.
She previously worked as the Carcass Evaluation and Animal Welfare Manager and moved into a Hog Procurement role in 2019.
She grew up on a small cow/crop operation in Northeast Illinois, worked on a farrow to finish operation throughout college, and started with Hormel Foods as a Production Supervisor at a facility in Southern Wisconsin.
Additional Involvement in the Industry: Katherine is a TQA and PQA Advisor, participates on the Animal Welfare Committee with NAMI, is PAACO Certified for meat plant auditing, and actively participates in the SHIP Traceability working group.
She studied Agriculture Business and Animal Industry Management at Illinois State University.

At – Large: Exhibition Swine Member

Jesse Heimer
Jesse Heimer, Taylor, Mo., owns and operates Heimer Hampshires, a nationally renowned show pig operation where more than 600 purebred and crossbred litters are farrowed annually and marketed coast to coast.
A third generation pig farmer, Jesse is committed to developing the best genetics in the industry while keeping high standards for herd health and biosecurity. His focus and commitment has resulted in numerous champions for customers at every level of competition as well as a genetic influence that has impacted the entire industry.
The mission of Heimer Hampshires is rooted in Jesse’s passion to develop young people and promote agriculture as a viable and sustainable career path. He has long been a leading advocate of junior livestock programs and finds purpose in supporting his own kids, among many others, across the United States in their efforts to raise and show pigs as a means of developing valuable life skills.
Jesse serves on the Missouri Pork Producers Association Board of Directors, completed a term in the Pork Leadership Institute and recently was a producer representative on the NPB/NPPC trip to Europe to learn about ASF. Outside of the pork industry, he enjoys spending time on the farm with his wife, Amy, and two kids, Max and Harper. Both kids are active in multiple sports and usually, they can all be found at a ball field, gym, or a pig show.